The biggest game in all of football is just days away now and rather than just give you a general breakdown of the game I’m going to give you a look at how both teams win Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m going to do this by focusing one team at a time in terms of the line, over/under possibilities and the general gameplan. I took good hard look at how the Denver Broncos win and cover the three-point spread on Wednesday. Today, I’m focusing on the Seattle Seahawks.
The National Football Conference Champion Seattle Seahawks enter Super Bowl XLVIII as three-point underdogs. As I mentioned Wednesday, I think that is in large part due to the way Denver played versus how Seattle played in their respective conference championship games. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Seattle has struggled recently on offense and Russell Wilson in particular.
How Does Seattle Cover the Spread?
Common thinking by anyone who covers the National Football League will tell you that Seattle must run the ball well early and often. That accomplishes two things for the Seahawks. Most importantly, it means they are advancing the ball and collecting first downs. Secondly, but perhaps just as importantly, running the ball well means keeping Peyton Manning on the sideline wearing a visor. Or in this year’s case, a stocking cap.
I tend to think a little differently though. Look for Seattle to come out with hard play-action meaning, you’ll see Wilson being very emphatic with his fakes to Marshawn Lynch. Denver will already have safeties and linebackers thinking run so their first step will be forward. The only way this is successful of course is if Wilson is completing the passes.
I also think you’ll see Wilson on a lot of designed roll-outs and bootlegs because this could really cause Denver problems. The Broncos have faced both San Diego and New England so far in the playoffs and those teams have very traditional, drop back passers. Russell Wilson can be a nightmare on the edge because of his ability to run with the ball.
The Broncos haven’t seen much of this in 2013 and I have to believe that Pete Carroll and his offensive coaches want to take advantage of that. I’m not suggesting that Seattle abandons Marshawn Lynch at all but I think it will be wise to open up the defense a bit which in turn opens up running lanes for Lynch. In other words, pass the ball to set up the run.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle must guard against being spread out which is what I think Denver will do. They cannot allow clean get-aways from the line of scrimmage from the Broncos’ receivers and whoever guards Julius Thomas must be able to handle his size and speed.
Pay attention early on Denver’s opening drives to see how Seattle is playing the receivers. If Manning is having timing issues because wideouts are getting knocked off their routes then that could really open defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to bring more pressure. Carroll and Quinn both know that getting to Manning is not easy. That said, it isn’t impossible and teams that typically have good outside edge rushers give Manning fits.
As I mentioned Wednesday, the over/under is 47 and if you like Seattle to win then you like the under. Seattle must keep Denver in the low 20’s to have a legitimate chance because the Broncos can play pretty good defense too. I also have to believe you love getting the three points.
Like the Broncos, the Seahawks have gone under in their last five games. Seattle is also 3-6 against the spread in their last nine meetings with Denver. The last time these two teams met, Denver won 31-14. The quarterbacks were Matt Hasselbeck and Kyle Orton so there isn’t much use in a comparison.